Lewisham Council has introduced a new concept of ‘Warm Banks’ in its recent Telegraph Hill Assembly meeting, offering a helping hand to people in the cost-of-living crisis. 

The Council’s community development officer who curated the resource, Sarah Lang, wanted to put together as much help as she could find in one place. She added a “local context to it so that people can take away something that they could use immediately in their area”.

Warm Welcome’ has been instituted to support individuals affected by the increased living costs this winter. Called ‘Warm Banks’, these places provide hot drinks, food and even social activities and additional support. 

The Glass Mill Leisure Centre, Forest Hill Pools, Holy Trinity Church are some of the many warm spaces across the borough. New Cross Learning, a community library in New Cross, is also marked as a warm bank. It has been receiving frequent visitors seeking warm and friendly company.

The poster outside New Cross Learning about the warm bank and its timings.

Local Telegraph Hill resident, Dennis, is glad that the Council is making an effort to help people out, especially as winter approaches. He said: “While it’s not going to change the world, it will definitely be of help for many individuals here”.

The help from the council comes at a time when households and individuals have been struggling due to multiple shifts like housing crisis, inflation, energy cost and the pandemic, thereby resulting in a general change of circumstances. 

The United Kingdom’s annual inflation rate of average consumer prices is at its highest at 7.4% this year since 1991. In July 2022, almost 90% of adults in the country reported an increase in their cost of living. 

 

The Bank of England also expects the post-tax household income to fall by 1.5% in 2022, then by 2.25% in 2023. 

In this light, a new Cost of Living page was launched on the Lewisham Council website in August 2022. Promoted via Resident’s news and social media, it consists of signposting for different types of help offered by the Council and other partners. 

Multiple locations for community meals and food bank provisions have been laid out in Lewisham Local for those facing financial difficulties. 

South London Healthy Homes is another free service that was highlighted in the meeting. It is available to those over 65, on a low income, or who have a long term health condition/ disability. Accessible across 13 London boroughs, it helps the vulnerable keep warm homes while also saving money.